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Laid off coal miner talks about struggles of unemployment

By: Morgan Lentes Email
By: Morgan Lentes Email

MCROBERTS, Ky (WYMT) - In recent months, more and more coal miners have been laid off and are now looking for work.

Jerry Meadows, Jr. lives in Letcher County and lost his coal mining job in January.

Since then, he has updated his resume and started applying for jobs wherever he can.

Meadows said he has not had any luck so far but that he is not giving up hope.

He said his family is his number one motivation for getting back to work.

"It just puts you in a little more conscious frame of mind," said Meadows.

Besides not getting a paycheck anymore, Meadows also lost his health insurance, which is a big concern to him.

"If I'm out here working around my home, you know, well, I need to be a little extra careful," said Meadows.

With a diabetic wife, children of his own and nine grandchildren, Meadows said he will find a way to provide for his family with or without a job.

"Snow is going to be flying here soon. Do they need a coat? Somehow you just make preparations for that," said Meadows.

However, he admits that is a lot harder without his previous income.

"There's assistance that can help them out and government assistance, but that can only go so far," said Meadows.

Meadows receives unemployment benefits and will until early 2014.

He said each day he checks for new job postings, which are few and far between in Eastern Kentucky.

Meadows said having family in the area makes it hard to think about leaving town for a job.

"If it ever come to it where I had to stay away from home, but when you got a family it is real hard to think that way," said Meadows.

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